A concerned Malaysian writes about current affairs in Malaysia. If you like this site, please tell your relatives and friends. WE have the POWER TO CHANGE MALAYSIA. If you want to read earlier posts, please remove the "2" from this URL

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What Do You Think Would Be the Most Important Factor to Achieve BANGSA MALAYSIA?

This is your question for MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 10 which is appropriate for Hari Kebangsaan.

For POLL 9, 16 readers responded and it looks as if all decided that flying the flag is the least important duty.

Here are the results:

0 Just fly the Flag when Requested
0 Join the Motorcade to Promote the Flag
2 Help Others as Much as Possible
3 Do Your Best Not to Break Any Laws
3 Stop Offering Bribes to Officials
8 Raise Children to Be Good Citizens

It is interesting that most decided that it is important to invest their efforts to raise good citizens.

Thanks for the feedback. Your vote counts.

Through the Looking Glass Darkly...

Time for the ACA to Act?
The on-going drama between the Customs and MPs provides a chance for the ACA to probe irregularities in the purchase of RM48m worth of uniforms that raise some interesting questions about how government contracts are awarded and approved.

According to this news report, prices are exorbitant and one wonders why local products were not used instead of paying for expensive foreign labour.

It also implies that goods were quoted for an imported source but the actual goods received were made locally.

There is thus an element of cheating in this “direct negotiation” contract.
One can only speculate as to what else transpires in such direct negotiations where there is no competition to obtain the best prices or quality.

This could be the scene in a book one can write:

Supplier: “Boss. Instead of supplying this design, we suggest a more modern outfit.”

Officer: “ Yes. That looks more stylish. What about the cost?”

Supplier: “ No worry about that. We can give for the same price.”

Officer: “That’s not what I meant. How much more profit do you make?”

Supplier: “Not too much, lah. Just cari makan.”

Officer: “I understand. Everyone needs that. Especially with the higher costs of fuel, electricity.”

Supplier: “ Maybe we can do something for you so everyone is happy.”

Officer: “What do you suggest?”

Supplier: “No problem lah. We have various methods to keep customers satisfied. Let me give you our brochure and you pick those you like.”

Officer: “ OK. Let me take a look.”

Supplier: “Don’t worry. This system has very little risk. Just give us this reference number and your choice and we will do the rest.”

What is in the menu?

Some wild possibilities:

 A golfing vacation where the company official will lose heavily at golfing bets.

 The bank account of a customer’s child studying overseas so that monies can be banked directly into the account.

 Overseas secret accounts

 Cruises with all expenses paid including sex partners

 Direct cash payments

 Entertainment at local night-clubs

The ACA should have the power to probe such public disclosures and not have to wait for the green light from the PM.

PS. I hope this article does not spoil your holiday. Have a good break but remember "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

An Inspiring Speech for Malaysia’s Birthday

Most speeches we hear from our political leaders are boring and rarely stir our emotions to do anything good.

They sound just like a broken record always demanding their rights for “race, religion and country.” Always forgetting that they have been in power for 49 years and all the policies they enforced did not benefit most of the audience but just a few of their friends, relatives and connected associates.

So as we celebrate Hari Kebangsaan, let us listen carefully to this speech
given by Martin Luther King Jr. who died in the cause of equal rights for the blacks in the USA.

Try to concentrate on the words and emotions and you will understand how this man inspired millions to achieve the goal of real freedom. (Suggest you listen to the mp3 and read the speech here as the video is not smooth)

Malaysians too yearn for more freedom and better racial harmony. Too often we have allowed irresponsible politicians to play the race card that has enabled them to gain political mileage.

Last year I modified the ending of this speech to suit Malaysia’s needs.
My hope for Malaysia is that the so-called “silent majority” will rouse from their slumber and play a bigger role to determine where our nation is headed. You do not have to sacrifice your life like King but take a more active interest in what policies are being proposed and implemented and at least take them up with your MP or NGO.

We simply cannot allow only politicians to play politics. Malaysia needs your care and attention or surely we will be going over the falls as a nation.

photo: American Falls, Niagara

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Surviving the Mother of All Jams

It took us 2 hours to travel one kilometer on Sunday when I decided to drive my wife back to Singapore.

The queue started just before the Komtar building and after that it was pure bedlam as the traffic stalled with buses and other queue-jumpers just ignoring human decency in the usual rush to exit Johor Bahru.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Johor Bahru; this is the stretch just before the Causeway that has been affected by the construction on the new CIQ.

There has been a one-way traffic flow so that all traffic flows south.The Caltex station about 500 meters before the CIQ is the basic cause of the traffic problem as many motorists simply enter the station and treat is as another lane to cut the queue.

At this point, there could be vehicles six abreast when for orderly flow there should only be four lanes. The vehicles from the left squeeze out patient motorists who queue in an orderly manner in the proper lanes and there is very little chance to change lanes.

To make matters worse there is a pedestrian bridge that only allows four lanes to pass so the overall flow gets even more restricted nearer the CIQ.

Is there no one bothered about such a chaotic situation? The traffic police appear to have become extinct in this part of Johor Baru and motorists have to suffer the ordeal of moving one kilometer in two hours.

What can the traffic police do? It would help a lot if they can control the point where traffic has to merge into narrower sections. Even one cop will make a significant difference here so lanes will have a chance to flow evenly.

The only people adding chaos to the situation were the beggars who move about the moving car park and try to get alms.

It took us about 2 hours to exit the jam and that too after having to switch to the left lane after 1 hour of patient inching along.

There were only 4 lanes operating in the immigration department when we reached the booths around midnight. I guess they were worried about midnight during the Hungry Ghost month.

It was plain sailing the moment we joined the Causeway as the traffic flowed freely and we spent about 10 minutes at the Singapore end.
The difference was as stark as night against day.

Sorry to say this but Johor Bahru FAILS big time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Treating Only the Symptoms to Cure the Disease

According to this report, handphones may be banned in sensitive areas like police lock-ups as they have caused more shocking scenes to be broadcast.

This seems to be wrong solution, as it will only give the bad cops more opportunity to commit their foul deeds under secrecy.

Hopefully a caring policeman who felt that it was against the rules captured this scene.

There is always this retort when asked about action against corruption and other crimes, “Show us the evidence.”

What better way to show the evidence than a video clip of the actual actions?
Instead of restricting camera phones, the police should all be encouraged to tape such incidents so that the few black sheep can be removed.

By the way, the people are still waiting for the IPCMC to be implemented, as this will provide a better framework to deal with such behaviour then the usual internal probe that may just die an unnatural death.

We should ask why the AG is still sleeping on the problem.

Photo: Clouds from a BC ferry, Canada. Hopefully clouds over IPCMC will be removed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Please Sir, Can I Have One Too?

The basic reason why Malaysia has so many problems in various areas is a lack of integrity among leaders and this allows people in various government departments to devise schemes to benefit themselves.

Just one very simple example:
The PM promptly paid up for all his traffic offences but all the other ministers have still not settled their fines. This shows a lack of integrity.
You can read an article on integrity here.

Once the top leadership treats national assets like PETRONAS, forests, EPF, Bank Negara like their personal property, it does not take long for the lower ranks to do likewise.

The latest move to eliminate this Customs "giveaway" is a right step but my guess is that there are hundreds of "get us rich" schemes out there.

photo: malaysiakini

Friday, August 25, 2006

Do or Do Not. There is no Try.....

That seems to be the predicament of the National Service Scheme as the amount of work required to bring NS dodgers to court seems to be too much for them to handle.

With more than 4000 dodgers not going to be summoned to court as they did not acknowledge the enrolment papers and could not be contacted it is a very convenient way to avoid NS. Just change your address when you see the NS letter and do not reply.

As there is a critical mass of thousands it is the principle of safety in numbers. Perhaps the NS people should do a survey as to why so many refuse to sign up even as the newspapers always report that all the trainees are so happy etc.

This problem is going the way of the PTNP student loans. Once it reaches the thousands of offenders, the enforcement will simply die off.

After all even the police cannot issue summons to ministers who have not paid for their traffic offences.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Mother's Love Endures...

Children suffer the most when parents quarrel and when they divorce the damage can be irreparable.

Today’s story of children being reunited with their mother is heart-warming and we all hope they will be able to forgive their parents for their past unhappiness.

Even though the children had to remain in Malaysia there was no reason not to allow their natural mother to see them for the past 14 years.

A mother’s love is unlimited and unconditional whereas a father’s love is different. Maybe it has got to do with the biological process of creation. A mother must spend growing her baby and then nursing it for months whereas a father is more a peripheral figure though there are some fathers who are very devoted to their children.

Here is a poem for mothers. You can read more poems here.


A Mother's love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,

It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .

It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .

It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .

It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .

A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.

~Helen Steiner Rice~

Have a good day and try to give your mother and father a hug today

Photo: Niagara Falls, Canada

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What is the Best Way for the PM to Counter TDM Attacks?


This was one of the most unpopular questions with only 10 readers taking the trouble to answer – hardly a number to inspire any confidence in the analysis.

Picked by

0 Just Ignore the Taunts

1 Focus on the Economy (9MP)

3 Explain Policies to People

2 Probe BNM’s Forex Losses or other Problem

0 Make Better Use of Media

1 Be More Proactive

3 Call for General Elections

Perhaps many feel they cannot give the PM good advice and some feel it may be a lost cause giving advice.
My purpose in creating these polls is to get Malaysians to think more critically as it is something that is not taught in schools and local universities.

It is even better for you to write some constructive comments rather than just read as think, “I agree but what can one person do?”

MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 9 is to check your views on Patriotism.
As Hari Kebangsaan is around the corner, it would be interesting to examine different views on what is patriotism.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Safeguarding the Judiciary

What happened in 1988 to the Malaysian judiciary should go down in history as the day the Executive decided it was going to control all the instruments of power in the country; especially the Judiciary.

The end result was that Malaysia became a dictatorship but nicely disguised as a democracy as the populace was allowed the facade of going to the polls once every 5 years under the shadow of draconian laws like ISA, OSA and other emergency powers.

We were like wolves in sheep's clothing as far as practicing democracy was concerned.

It is good that the Bar Council is calling for a probe the judicial crisis of 1988 and today the Chief Justice has called for the Sessions Court judges and magistrates to come under the ambit of the Chief Justice.

I support the concept of an independent judiciary in a democratic country but before we elevate all the judges to such an elevated status we should conduct that probe. This will ensure that all cans of worms are opened for public scrutiny and maybe some judges may be given the option to retire early.

There should also be a mechanism whereby a judge is subject to a parliamentary committee before he/she is elevated to a higher level; similar to what happens in the USA. The President nominates a judge for the Supreme Court but the person has to appear before a board.

The very least we need to do as honest citizens is to clear the names of those judges who believed in their principles. We failed them in 1988 – let us do the right thing now.

Photo: Justice is like a colour – blue or white and only few grey areas

Monday, August 21, 2006

We Shall Not Forget

All those who purchased that nicely-bound copy of the Royal Commission's Report on the Police should ask for a refund as it looks the IPCMC has been buried.

Maybe sue for misrepresentation as the book should have been designated under fiction and not an action plan for the government.

YES but Does He Really Believe It?

We always hear this kind of speech at UMNO gatherings.

“Our political struggles in Umno are far from over. We must continue the struggles for the sake of the Malays, the nation and Islam,” he said.

Is that in order of priority?
Given that Malaysia is a multi-religious and multi-racial country I would have agreed if the order were “the nation, Islam and the Malays.”

Further on in the article, he is quoted as saying,
“We in Umno cannot just shout the words Hidup Melayu or Hidup Umno to become strong as they are only slogans.”

I hope he and other UMNO leaders practise what they preach about stopping the “handout culture” themselves.
If the leaders set the example first I am sure the followers will know they are serious about their speeches.

I think the government’s policy to provide every Malaysian child to have at least 11 years of education is excellent but perhaps more attention and resources should be available to those who have to drop out at year 4 or 5.

Could the following be some of the reasons?

 Child needs to help parents earn income

 Child cannot cope with school lessons

 Other family problems

If the family has financial problems, the authorities should provide after a review a monthly allowance to ensure the child remains in school.
If the child has little academic ability, we should provide vocational training with a link to industries so that these youths can be trained for jobs in hotels, restaurants and factories.

If the government is really serious about changing the “handout culture”, here is a strategic move.

I would set a definite deadline for the end of ALL NEP policies like 31st December 2010.

After that date only the following affirmative action policies will be followed:

I wrote this in 2005 and it is still relevant.

As I consider education the key to the progress of Malaysia, I would support special programs to help Malays and especially the Orang Asli complete tertiary education.

However our universities must give them a quality education and not practise “dumb down” policies that have removed all our national universities from any respectable ranking table.
In other words this affirmative action can be practised indefinitely only as long as the person has not graduated or left school or up to age 28 whichever is earliest.

I believe this is the way for Malaysia to progress.

Photo: Sunset, Victoria Australia

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Just Change One Word

It would make a world of difference and everyone’s mindset will change a little and improve things for the future.

It is this kind of thinking over many years that fossilizes the brain and in later years national leaders will still not think for the overall good of the nation.

Now if we can all just replace the word “Malay” with “the poor” we will make a quantum leap as a nation.

Photo: Rainbow in W Australia

Friday, August 18, 2006

Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

The fire tragedy in Malacca where 4 children perished is indeed sad and the anguish for the family must be really unbearable and unimaginable.

It is good that the Safety Department and not TNB is doing the investigations although an inquest would provide a more definitive and official finding.

There are three elements that have caused the tragedy and each of the following is important:

 The houses were made of wood and hence would burn more speedily than brick construction

 The grilles for security could not be opened from the inside easily and the children were all too young to know how to do that.

 It is suspected that the fire could have started from a short circuit or a faulty appliance.

In most homes there are various combustible materials that most people do not consider. These are some that will burn and give off noxious fumes that will kill you faster than the actual flames.

Parquet flooring
Plastic casings of TVs, computers and other electrical appliances.

If any electrical appliance is switched on in ready mode, there is an electrical current flowing to maintain that state. We normally leave TVs and computers on.

If these are of inferior quality, it is possible for any electrical appliance to catch fire, as most people do not know the internal circuitry of such everyday items.

The latest news on computers is that Dell is recalling 4.1 million computers as they posed a fire risk.
This is an excellent article on Electrical Fires by John Gardner and the following brief extract describes how electrical fires are caused:

Please read it to protect your loved ones

2.0 ELECTRICAL CAUSE OF FIREAn electrical fire can be defined as a fire where an electric current or electrical fault is found to have been the ignition source. Some examples would be: -

a) Lightning strikes -Where extremely high voltages and currents, for a few thousandths of a second, produce so much heat that surrounding materials catch fire and continue to burn.

b) Overloaded wiring - Where the electric current flowing in the wires exceeds the rating of the cables. The wiring heats up and melts the insulation and can set fire to flammable material nearby. Commonly found in flexible cords, or power board leads.

c) Loose wiring connections - The current flowing through the wiring encounters resistance at the connection and generates heat. This can start a fire in the wall at the back of a power point, in a wiring junction box in the ceiling, above light fittings or inside a switchboard.

d) Electrical "arcing" (or sparking) - Where wiring insulation has been damaged by an external occurrence, and which lets the copper conductors inside a cable just touch one another, or to just make contact with the metal case of an appliance.”

I did a quick check in my house and found that that we are using 9 multiple extension cords all over the house and these are highly not recommended. But if you must use it, try to switch it off at the mains when no one is around.
If the extension has to be switched on as linked to your PC, make sure the surrounding area is free of combustible materials like stacks of papers.

I think that locked grilles have been raised a few times already and families should ensure that there are at least 2 doors or windows that can be opened with a key that in known to family members. Each floor should have 2 exits; one in front and one at the back of the house.

For my house, we have installed 3 windows on the first floor that can be opened; though they are located at the front end and we also have a fire escape door that leads to an outside landing. As a fire safety precaution, we laid ceramic tiles on the staircase instead of parquet.

One other factor that has not been considered is the household rat. These pests will gnaw anything even electrical wiring and can therefore cause short circuits. So you should try to eliminate these pests.

What about your own house?
How safe is your family?
Will everyone be able to escape if there is a fire anywhere in the house?

I hope you do not have to find out the hard way.

Photo: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/residents/images/powerboard.jpg

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Perils in Your Neighbourhood

Some parents really do not know how to keep their children safe.

Children below 12 years should not be left without adult supervision in public places like playgrounds and shopping malls.

Be aware there are many predators out there who will take advantage of your children who can end up being abducted, raped or even killed.

The only time you can relax a little is when your child is on the school bus or other supervised activity and one cannot impress strongly the lesson that children should never follow a stranger or even a familiar face unless the father or mother knows about the arrangement.

We used to tell our children not to accept food or drinks from strangers to reduce the chance of getting spiked drinks.

Safeguarding the Police Force

Our policemen need to tighten up their checking procedures if one of them is not going to be slaughtered soon.

According to this story, “one of the suspects pulled out a parang which was tucked in his waistband and slashed the policeman on his right arm.”

This happened when the suspects bolted after being stopped and when their particulars were being checked.

The incident occurred at 6:50am and it should have been light enough for the cops to see that one of the men had a parang tucked in a waistband if the two men had been asked to dismount.

I do not know how the police are trained to check suspects but I think the following is necessary to protect our policemen.

 Stop the motorbike

 Do not get within 3 meters of the suspects

 Ask the men to dismount and step away from the bike and stand at least 3 meters apart.

 Ask the men to slowly turn 360 degrees to see if there are any weapons visible; hands to be held away from the body.

 Once the police see any weapon like a parang, they need to be even more wary and be ready to defend against any attack.

 Order the man to remove the parang before asking if there are other concealed weapons.

 Check for concealed weapons.

 Check identity.

Maybe I have watched too many “Bad Boys” program but the way the police operate in the USA is to ensure a safer environment for the police force.

In 95% of cases, the above may seem unnecessary and cumbersome but if the cops had stuck to this routine, there would not be a policeman in hospital today.
But well done to the 2 cops who risked their life and limb to nab a criminal.

Photo: New Straits Times


What Do You Think of the Proposal to Acquire the COLISEUM CINEMA?
39 readers responded to this poll.

49% or 19 chose “Please Leave the Man in Peace”

23% or 9 chose “Work with Present Owner for Mutual Benefits”

21% or 8 chose “Designate the Building as a Heritage Site without Acquiring it”

8% or 3 chose “The Authorities Know What to Do”

0% or 0 chose “ Pay the Market Price and Compensate for Business Loss”

93% of the readers did not support the authorities’ move to acquire the building and only 3 % had faith in the original proposal.

Thanks to the overwhelming reaction of the public who provided various feedback to the authorities, the minister has been convinced that the original plan was not appropriate.

Hopefully this kind of response and reasoning is also applied to various problems that the country faces. Most Malaysians are quite practical and pragmatic and the authorities should learn how to tap this underutilised and vast resource.

May the Coliseum survive another 50 years!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Strange Project Planning or the Aftermath of the Crooked Bridge?

Something does not sound quite right here or maybe it’s another case of poor reporting or incoherent spouting.

According to this story, the project owner has been given 2 months to submit the design for the flyover
But this story reports that the Causeway will be closed to heavy vehicles within a month

If the flyover design is not even designed and approved (we still have not been told the price) why disrupt the Causeway traffic?

It seems to follow the same principle when Malaysia starting building the CIQ even before Singapore signed the legal documents.

Crooked Bridge Monument?

The Crooked Bridge project is starting to become part of Malaysia’s heritage and simply asking people to stop raising the issue merely fuels the imagination that some details have been omitted from all the different versions of how the government made its decisions.

As a democratic nation, citizens have the duty and the right to question policies and decisions and the government has the duty to answer those queries.

To be sure we are enjoying a period of relative openness that many appear to be uncomfortable, as it seems that people have an insatiable appetite for more information.

Just compare this with the time when the Crooked Bridge project was announced. There was not a single voice of protest or dissent when the project was launched and no one even mentioned that Singapore had not even put pen to paper to agree to build their end of the bridge.

Now we have a scrapped bridge that should have made the scrap dealers very happy. I wrote in an earlier entry that a Crooked Bridge is definitely preposterous and fortunately good sense has prevailed or we would have become the laughing stock of the world.

It now seems that not all the official papers have been released and this has given rise to even more questions.
This is what happens when people in authority do not take into consideration all factors and possibilities when dealing with issues of national interest.

It would have been better if there had been a full acknowledgement of mistakes or omissions the first time and make a public apology rather than the mishmash of contradicting claims by opposing sides. Sometimes to reduce public pressure, a minister may have to resign. That is the risk of public office and is not a disgrace if the public office is done with integrity.

It is better for a minister to resign so that the whole Cabinet does not get tainted with a grave error or scandal.

To keep a reminder of how governments should not make hasty decisions and commit billions of ringgit to dubious projects we should erect a small monument to the crooked bridge on the Causeway where they prepared the site for the take-off point with a grand ceremony.

I am sure Malaysians will be prepared to donate generously for this historic site. Limit the donation to RM2 each and let the ordinary folks contribute. Let’s say a budget of RM20,000?

Photo: malaysiakini

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Avoiding Simple Tragedies

This is a sad incident that could have been avoided.

Malaysians are generally quite ignorant of safety on the water as sailing and water sports do not have a wide following.

To prevent this type of incident from ever happening again unless the passengers choose to ignore the safety rules, it is suggested that this sign be required for all ferry operators.

Safety Rules
Maximum passengers including crew is 6
or up to safe water level indicator.
All passengers must wear a life jacket.

Unlicensed operators should not be allowed to operate. While the authorities cannot check every boat or every trip, have they ever checked on the abuse of safety rules and what have been the actions taken?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Your Best Advice for the PM?

MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 8 is for you to give the best advice to the PM who has been under constant attack.

I believe the majority of Malaysians wish that the PM be allowed to be given the chance to do his job properly and even if we may not regard the person highly we should give due respect to the office.

How Do We Ensure Better Public Safety and Security?


There were 37 votes as follows:

13 or 35% chose “Need Better Trained Police and More CCTV Systems”

11 or 30% chose “Tell the Authorities We are Not Satisfied”

11 or 30% picked “Need More Police Presence on the Beat”

1 0r 3% picked “Help the Police by Providing Information”

1 0r 3% chose “Take Care and Install More Security Devices”

0 or 0% decided to “Let the Government Take Care of it”

In summary 35 voters or 95% felt that the authorities should do more to enhance public safety.
There also seem to be a reluctance to help the police and so some mending of fences needs to be done for better cooperation between the police and the public.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Why Not Make Use of Army Camps?

It is good that the government is recruiting more members to beef up the police force.

Given the time needed to construct a new training center (3 years?) we need to explore ways on how to maximise the existing Pulapol in Kuala Lumpur.

The minimum time for basic training is 6 months, which means if we can reduce the time spent here to 2 months, we can increase the capacity by 3 times in the existing centers.

The other 4 months training can be done in army camps closer to the homes of police recruits and this will cover basic drills, unarmed combat and weapons training.

The 2 months in the police academy will cover legal matters; citizens’ rights and other skills needed to become an effective cop.

The situation on the streets has become desperate as criminals are more daring and vicious and do not hesitate to kill. Asking ordinary citizens to intervene against a parang-wielding thug is foolhardy and we really need the police to make the streets safe again.

It may even be possible to ask suitable armed forces personnel to transfer to the police and they can be ready within 2 months. Some problems may arise between police recruits and soldiers but I believe the army commanders should be able to cope.

Enough is Enough

Is Malaysia Still a Democracy?

Close to the celebration of Hari Kebangsaan, the following question may appear to be shocking but recent events seem to indicate that Malaysia seems to have drifted away from the democratic model to one where people of different political lineage appear to lay claim to the political leadership.

The very public row between the former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir(TDM) and his successor Abdullah Badawi leaves much to be desired as especially the former now claims that the latter was not his first choice.

It seems that the great debate between TDM and his successor falls outside the ambit of the Malaysian Constitution (MC).

43 (3) The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament.

43 (4) If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.

I do not see any provision in the MC that requires the Prime Minister to follow any prearranged plans with his predecessor.

It is a dangerous precedent if Parliament allows the highest office of the land to be controlled by anyone who does not hold the office anymore. If this happens, Malaysia will basically become a feudal state and the rights of the citizens to determine their future becomes meaningless.

Loyal citizens respect and support the holder of the office of Prime Minister but that office is held in trust and we pray that the person holding that office is able to implement policies and practices for the greater good.

If that person betrays that trust citizens have the right and duty to change the leader for that is what democracy is all about.

Meanwhile we should not accept unfair criticism that demeans the office of the PM and we should make us of existing laws against slander. It should simply not be allowed to continue.

Meanwhile a vote of confidence in the House would show that the people as represented by their MPs want the PM to work vigorously on his election pledges.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Help the Police to Help Us

It is noteworthy that the suspected killers of Lee Kean Yip have been arrested following an anonymous tip-off.

I suggest that the police can do more to get the public to help fight crime and it would not cost much. Make use of the public address systems at transport centers to have short messages at say 15-minute intervals similar to the safety warnings you will hear in all public places in the USA like “Do not leave your luggage unattended....”

I suggest we have the following in the 4 main languages:
“Please report suspicious characters you see in the area. The police need your help to keep you safe. Call (telephone number that should be toll free)”

The police can get companies to sponsor TV adverts that have a similar message and I am sure that after a few months the public cooperation will improve and such incidents will be reduced.

photo:http://www.mwpower.co.uk/images/surv6.jpg.(Mobile cctv)

How Many Officers Does it Take........

I find this article interesting.
It reminds me of the joke, “How many ministers does it take to form a Cabinet?”

The reason given for the ineffective campaign is the lack of “numerical advantage” as there is only a total of 25 officers compared to 1043 taxi drivers of which only 11 have been booked for not using their meters.

I wonder how the enforcement officers operate. Do they gather en masse at the popular spots and hope the taxi drivers do not recognise them?

If enforcement officers are capable and well trained they should be able to operate in pairs and let’s assume they can catch a taxi every 30 minutes.

This means that in an 8 hour shift they should be able to check 16 taxis a day or if we consider 4 teams at 64 taxis a day it would take just 16 days to screen all the taxis assuming no repeats.

On the other side of the coin, the taxi fares should be adjusted if there is a fuel price increase or the fares should be subject to annual review. It is a bad sign when everyone flouts the law and the enforcement agency has to confess it cannot do its job.

If the enforcement agency does its work on a consistent basis throughout the year it would not have lost its war against the taxi drivers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Some Armchair Questions

This case is very interesting as it involved the death of a government employee.

It is hard to imagine a government employee driven to suicide as the work pressure was too great.

I would like to ask the following questions:

 What was the nature of the course that the office boy attended in Pangkor from September 17 to 22, 2004?

 Was his absence from work until 2nd October a prearranged leave or emergency leave?

 If emergency leave, what was the nature of the emergency?

 Can the emergency be verified?

 Can his attendance at the Pangkor course be properly verified?

 What happened to the files that the dead officer was handling?

If a whistle blower protection had been available, this employee could be alive today.

photo: Fish in ecosystem. (Frog spawn white foam)

Hard Work Pays Dividends for the Police

Congratulations to the police for the success in nabbing those were apparently involved in the killing of a TAR college student during a robbery two weeks ago.

It shows that with hard work and commitment, the police can be a potent force to keep Malaysians safe.

May I suggest the police go one step further. They should do profiling of robbery suspects and conduct more checks on those who fit that description in crime infested areas or hot spots.

Example of robbery suspects:

 Motor bikes with 2 males

 Age range from 18 to 45

 Fitted with goods compartment or carrying knapsacks or bags

A lot of manpower has been deployed following public anger after the senseless killing of a young man who was hacked to death.

More checking by police who are on visible patrol in the area may have deterred such crimes. If the police force is not up to the recommended complement, the authorities should recruit more personnel but these should be properly trained and motivated to serve with honour and integrity.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adding Insult to Injury

The indecent haste to acquire the COLISEUM CINEMA in KL shows that the authorities can be very callous when they want to show their power.

Just imagine offering RM500k for a well-maintained building on prime building land just because the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry were affected by the present heatwave and came up with this half-baked idea.

The manner in which the acquisition order was served smacks of bad taste and a total lack of consideration. Maybe the idea is to shock the poor man into cardiac arrest?

Just because cultural shows are being staged in a car park nearby hardly merits much for a proper planning of the cultural transformation of the city.

I guess there is probably a commitment to stage a series of movies like a Cultural Film Fest soon and the organisers are desperate to find suitable venues. Since this old man is not part of the major cinema chains, he is an easy target.

The building looks in pristine condition and it may take perhaps a week or less to get a new signage. No major refurbishment is required and everyone has an easy job.

Instead of leasing the building completely and then having to incur running costs and most such projects simply lose money; it would be more beneficial for all if the Minister requests the owner to allow them to stage the week-long Film Fest once or twice a year.

That way, the owner is free to run his cinema business for 50 weeks of the year and the Ministry gets to organise the film fests and we taxpayers will not see a major drain on the nation’s coffers.

Unless there is a more sinister plot to acquire the building at a near distress price; do the heritage thingy and after a few years sell off the building at a low price to some private developer. Such a scenario is possible as we are in Malaysia Boleh.

Appreciating Life

This is a 3-minute presentation that will lift your spirit and inspire you to appreciate your life. If you think 3 minutes is too long then you really need this.

Many of us take things for granted as too often we just rush through the daily routine and have too little time to appreciate life.

If we have a family we do not take enough time for our loved ones and even simple things like meal times are not taken to share life’s experiences.

We are in a rush to watch that favourite programme, get online to chat or surf and there is simply no time to even say, “Hi, how was your day like?” Maybe we are too scared that that may open a flood of complaints and criticisms about what happened at the workplace.

Today is also Singapore’s National Day and we cannot but observe that the country has grown from strength to strength ever since it was forced to leave Malaysia.

I am not saying that everything is perfect in Singapore but one only has to visit the humble HDB estates or neighbourhood schools to see that things are in good order. The majority of the citizens are able to make a reasonable living if they are prepared to work hard.

We could borrow some of the pages of their success story. For example there would never be the cases of traffic offenders among ministers who are still waiting for action from the traffic police.

Photo: Fireworks with Esplanade (twin durian structure) in foreground.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Global Warming and Local Consequences

The weather has been pretty warm lately and so the authorities in Johor have decided to freeze land deals in the South Johor Corridor while they put on their thinking caps on how to deal with the multi-billion ringgit windfall that is an important component of the 9MP.

They fear that land prices will escalate and make millionaires of some fortunate owners. Maybe they want to impose some Coliseum Cinema type deals so that some owners will not even be able to enjoy the fruit of their investments.

In other words some people will get shafted in the interest of the nation’s progress.
This land freeze is similar to the exercise that took place before the NAP was formulated and even now the effects of that can be seen in the dwindling car sales and second-hand dealers dying a quick death.

We should accept that there is always an element of speculation in the property market and the authorities should not discourage it. They should only advise property owners that the 9MP should see a greater demand for such properties and encourage those who have staying power to hold on.

The last thing we should see is the state authorities trying to “talk up” prices just like they did to the Johor Unit Trust fund that was a major calamity.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What They Don’t Teach in Hotel School

My family spent the week-end in KL as it was a family gathering to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 85th birthday.

We stayed in a spanking new hotel in Damansara within walking distance to major shopping centers like IKEA and TESCO.

My son-in-law checked in for us earlier as we were going to arrive later at night.

When we arrived he explained that in order to access the floor we were allocated, the key card had to be inserted in the control lift panel.

It was a limited security feature as others could also enter the lift and access other floor without a card.

The next day, we decided to ask for a spare key. The conversation went like this.

Wife: “ Can I please have a spare key?”

Front desk(Fd): “What room are you in?”

Wife: “414”

Fd: “ Is that under Mr XYZ?”

Wife: “Yes.”

And with that simple exchange, my wife was able to get the spare key for the room.

I am also sending this message to the hotel so hopefully someone there will note the serious breach of security protocol.

Rules for Unused Funds

Malaysians are quite a generous lot.

I remember quite a few years back, there was a major campaign by many organisations to raise funds via TV, radio and newspapers and millions of ringgit were donated.

At the time the song, “We are the World” was used as the theme and if I remember correctly it was to aid the thousands of people in Africa who were dying of starvation.

Does anyone remember if all the funds have been used up and accounted for? Was there a company that was responsible to ensure that proper records and accounts were maintained until the fund was officially closed?

Today tens of thousands are still suffering from wars, ethnic conflict and tribal reprisals. We see this everyday on the TV the suffering that is happening in Iraq, Lebanon and Sri Lanka where man inflicts such great suffering and hardships on his fellow men.

As we try to raise funds for various causes, we should be mindful of the intentions of the donor. If we raise money for local charity we should not use the money for overseas relief unless we have already obtained the permission of the donor.

Otherwise it may be construed as a misuse of funds. Perhaps a law requiring all surplus funds should be surrendered to a Malaysian Welfare Fund administered by the Welfare Ministry to be used for poor Malaysians would be timely.

National Service Should be an Equal Opportunity for Youths

To encourage youths to enrol for NS, some perks have been offered like free uniforms and an alumni club.

Now the intake has been increased to at least 100,000 out of 443,895 youths or about 22%.

I think a more effective NS program would be to ensure that ALL youths are given an equal opportunity to serve.

This can be achieved if the training is shortened to 30 days instead of the present 90 days. Discipline and self-development can be instilled in a course fashioned on the Outward Bound School program that has trained thousands of Malaysians already over more than 50 years.

If we can shorten NS to 30 days, it means we can increase the intake to 300,000 just incurring some extra costs in transport.

It is quite unfair to penalise those who were not selected for NS in the university intake exercise. The alternative is to accept all those who want to do NS and for this a reserved number equivalent to university places should be set aside.

It is simply not good enough to penalise our youth based on some “transparent” computer selection. We are playing with people’s futures on the luck of the draw.

Why Disturb a Perfectly Maintained Property?

The latest MALAYSIAWATCH POLL is to seek your views on the proposal to acquire the Coliseum Cinema as a Heritage Building.

Just put yourself in the present owner's shoes and imagine what anguish the man is suffering. After more than 50 years of good stewardship, he is being told that his property and business is for the "national interest".

Do you mean Malaysia will go down the tubes if this property is left alone?
Take the poll and let the authorities know what you think.

Sometimes some people who are supposed to think do not actually do that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Malaysians are a sexually repressed lot.

Anything to do with sex and they perk up. Why not? After all the Dumex survey showed that we are way down in the sex league as far as the frequency of lovemaking is concerned. The French can surely teach us a few lessons on “amour”.

Perhaps it has to do with authorities clamping down on couples holding hands and kissing in public.

So when this article entitled “Sexual gaze of Johor’s Bigfoot” is printed it is definitely titillating and becomes a big draw.

We have not seen the real thing yet so the sexual gaze is very important as it gives a tantalising view of what to expect when we finally get to see the real thing. Now where did I see those eyes before? Why it sure reminds me of that famous French painting, “The Mona Lisa”.

Make Love, Not War

That could be the motto of our armed forces as we seem to have a plethora of problems like:

 Training flights crashing

 Delays in building ships

 Missiles that cannot fire

 Soldiers that can be hired for private activities

I would think very carefully before we send any troops anywhere especially to Lebanon as I don’t think those Israelis or Hizballah are going to ask you if your weapons are in working order before they engage you.

I think this missile suffers from a name image. With a name like SeaSkua it definitely sounds too feminine to be a destructive weapon. Therefore it lived up to its name by simply plopping into the sea.
It would be a good exercise for the navy to conduct a recovery exercise. Maybe not as the weapon could be a real dud. How about having a special event for the next army sports day?
Tossing the missile could be real exciting.